Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Pedal to the Metal

It's now become urgent to put policies into place where they have the highest probability of reducing carbon emissions very rapidly, given that we are at the threshold of of irreversible climate change. Here's a review about a new book from veteran energy analyst Hal Harvey that simplifies decarbonization. Basically it boils down to implementing specific large impact strategies in the top 20 carbon-emitting countries.

As David Roberts says in his review:

The overall message is that climate policy doesn’t have to mean doing everything possible, everywhere possible. It’s mainly about applying a toolbox of 10 energy policies to four economic sectors in the 20 top-emitting countries, plus a bunch of carbon pricing and land-use reform. That will get us most of the way there, and it’s a tractable task.

Policymakers at every level — perhaps even some of those newly elected Democratic governors — will find the book a practical help. It tailors recommendations to different geographies and levels of economic development and gets into nitty-gritty design issues for each policy.

And it reminds them again and again: focus. There are about a dozen policies that work, but “there’s a fast fall-off after that dozen,” Harvey says. “There’s tons of things that sound good but just don’t make much of a difference.”

 It's up to the citizens of these countries to elect policymakers and government officials that will make these actions a priority, going up against the corporate positions of denial and minimization for their own profit. We are seeing movements building towards that kind of accountability, such as Plan B in the UK, which leads in the use of lawsuits to hold corporations accountable for their climate impact, and the Extinction Rebellion movement that is igniting across Europe.

Whether this wave of activism has an influence in the upcoming COP24 climate change dialogue in Katowice this December remains to be seen, but we're entering a critical period of time where the most effective actions undertaken by the largest emitters will have a measurable impact on this global threat to our existence.

Update 12/16/18: What Can We Do?

Update 1/23/19:  Fossil Fuels on Trial: Where the Major Climate Change Lawsuits Stand Today